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SMRT restores train services on NSL after flooded tunnels cause disruption for over 20 hours

SINGAPORE —Train services between Newton and Ang Mo Kio stations on the North-South Line (NSL) have resumed, SMRT said on Sunday (Oct 08), about 20 hours after rain water flooded tunnels and crippled train operations.

SMRT restores train services on NSL after flooded tunnels cause disruption for over 20 hours

SCDF personnel work to clear a flooded tunnel between Braddell and Bishan MRT stations. SCDF said that at approximately 11am on Sunday, the water in the tunnels had been completely cleared. Photo: SCDF

SINGAPORE —Train services between Newton and Ang Mo Kio stations on the North-South Line (NSL) have resumed, SMRT said on Sunday (Oct 08), about 20 hours after rain water flooded tunnels and crippled train operations.

In an update on its Facebook page, SMRT said that train services in both directions resumed at 1.50pm.

“This follows an all-out, overnight effort to clear water in the tunnels between Bishan and Braddell MRT stations,” said SMRT, adding that teams from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, PUB, Land Tansport Authority and SMRT worked jointly to pump out water from the tunnels.

On Saturday night, teams from SMRT and LTA also conducted network-wide checks on MRT tunnels.

“SMRT thanks the various agencies for stepping in to assist since yesterday. In addition, the Singapore Police Force assisted with traffic control and crowd management along roads and at affected stations, and SBS Transit provided additional buses for the bridging bus services,” it said.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience commuters had to bear this weekend.”

This weekend's transport chaos began around 5:33pm on Saturday, when SMRT halted train services between Bishan and Toa Payoh MRT stations "as a precaution" due to flooding in the tunnel from Bishan to Braddell MRT stations, following a heavy downpour. In a separate incident, a small fire on the trackside in the tunnel between Marina Bay and Raffles Place MRT stations was also reported, though the flames later died out on its own.

The tunnel was reportedly flooded despite flood prevention measures having been improved recently. Currently, flood barriers at 35 underground MRT stations have been completed across the network.

Also posting on its Facebook page on Sunday afternoon, SCDF said it received a call from SMRT at approximately 7.07pm on Saturday evening requesting assistance for a flooding situation in the tunnels between Braddell and Bishan MRT Stations.

Releasing the first set of official images following the incident, pictures showed SCDF personnel wading in almost knee deep water in pitch dark conditions as they worked to clear the water.

The SCDF said: “In a protracted overnight operations, SCDF Emergency Responders worked closely with the engineering teams from LTA, PUB and SMRT to pump out the water from the affected areas.”

It added that at approximately 11am on Sunday, the water in the tunnels had been completely cleared and SCDF has concluded its operations.

Commuters interviewed by TODAY welcomed the resumption of services, while adding that long term improvements are needed.

Mrs Koh, 55, said when interviewed at Bishan station: “I’m happy for everyone that the service has resumed”.

“Over the years, flooding has been well controlled in Singapore in my opinion. For something like this to happen, I think it is (a) very big (deal),” she said.

Her son, Mr Koh, 27, added: “It has become sort of like a gamble. Every time you take the train, you have no idea like whether it is going to come. People are slowly moving to alternative methods of transport like Grab.”

Mr Nam Hayul, 16, hoped that commuters can be more understanding.

“The delay is not on purpose from SMRT’s end… Although it has affected almost everyone. Hopefully, they can improve on their system.”

In an earlier update just after 10am on Sunday, SMRT said that the rain water that flooded the tunnels and crippled operations from Saturday evening is "almost cleared".

"We are working towards full resumption of North-South Line train services as quickly as possible," SMRT had said.

Initially, SMRT planned to re-open services between Newton and Ang Mo Kio stations at 9am on Sunday.

Train services on the NSL from Jurong East to Ang Mo Kio, and from Newton to Marina South Pier stations in both directions were unaffected.

The disruption is possibly the widest outage since December 2011, when over 200,000 commuters were affected by a major service disruption along the NSL over two days.

On Dec 15 that year, an estimated 127,000 commuters were affected by a major service disruption along the NSL from Marina Bay station to Braddell station.

At that time four trains stalled because of a misalignment between the train’s current collector shoes and the power rail, also known as the third rail. The trains draw locomotive power from the third rail through the train current collector shoes. As there was a misalignment, the trains were unable to draw power and thus stalled.

Two days later, another service disruption took place on the same line during the morning and affected about 94,000 commuters. During this disruption, five trains stalled after encountering similar mechanical problems.

SMRT was only able to resume service around noon a day later. 

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